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MIAA wants to rewrite the rule books in soccer, field hockey

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League's decision on what the upcoming fall season will look like is finally expected to be announced tomorrow, and here's hoping it's somewhat similar to what Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire is doing -- all sports, full steam ahead! -- and not what Massachusetts plans to do.

In case you missed it, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association is gearing for a four-season school year, with a floating "Fall II" season -- consisting of football, cheerleading, and unified basketball -- taking place in the final week of February and continuing through March and April. Yes, the MIAA wants to squeeze this between the winter season and the spring season, which will probably not end until the first few days of July.

And as for some of the fall sports that are staying put, such as soccer and field hockey? The MIAA basically wants to rewrite the rule books for those sports.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, the MIAA wants to transform "the beautiful game" into something completely different, with no head balls, throw-ins, player walls, and slide tackling (and any form of physical contact at all between players). And in field hockey, the MIAA wants to tinker with a 7-on-7 format on the field (instead of an 11-on-11) and the elimination of penalty corners.

That being said, why play either sport? It's going to be a nightmare for coaches to teach their players how to play their sports under the MIAA's "bizarro" format, as well as officials to learn and implement these new rules.

Some conferences in the Bay State have already decided to cancel their fall seasons and got the blessing to push them into the "Fall II" season. It's a gamble, because what if there's still no light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic in six months? Oh yeah, don't forget about the weather -- New Englanders know how unpredictable it can be in March. We caught a break this past March with some fairly decent weather, but will we get lucky two years in a row? I doubt it.

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